A fictional story used by permission from New Life Church
I have seen some of your paintings of angels. Not very accurate. Why do some of your
artists try to make us look like lovely, soft women or cute, chubby babies? Let’s correct
that idea right now.
When you think of an angel, don’t think of soft clouds or little
cupid-like cherubs decorating packages of bathroom tissue. Angels are terrible warriors. We are the army of the Living God, His heavenly host — a mighty, terrible host, surrounded with the blinding glory of the Almighty’s holiness. Our strength is incomprehensible to you humans. Why one night while the Assyrian army was surrounding Jerusalem, one of our host went through their camp and put to death 185,000 of their soldiers (2 Kings 19:35). Cute, chubby cherubs, ha! Every time a human actually sees one of us, he collapses in terror. That’s why we always have to start our conversations with: “Fear not!”
Like your human armies, we have ranks and orders, differing duties and tasks. Some
angels are not quite so military of course, but me and my boys are a real army. We’ve been in on some of the great campaigns. Our regiment follows the Commander Himself. He has a very particular interest in earth. So many of our operations have brought us into this arena of conflict.
Earth, you know, is contested territory. Oh, there’s no real question of who really
rules, but the final mop-up action is being delayed in order to compete certain rescue
operations in which the Commander has taken a personal part. We look forward to the end of
it all. The day is coming when the last battle will take place. All of the hostiles will
gather against our Commander and will mount a terrible offensive. We (and some of you too)
will be with Him when He meets the Enemy on that day! There’s no doubt at all about the
outcome of that conflict.
In the meantime, our present missions are typically restraining actions related to the
ongoing rescue program. We move into an area and secure a perimeter of operations from
enemy interference. For instance, on one occasion, Dothan, the village of God’s prophet
Elisha, was surrounded by the Syrian army. Our unit was deployed to ensure the safety of
the prophet and clear the area of hostiles. Elisha knew we were there. He had notification
from our Commander. But the prophet’s servant was uninformed about our presence. Elisha
told his servant, “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are
with them.” Then Elisha requested from the Commander, that we angels be displayed for
the servant’s benefit. So we executed a partial decloaking. The servant was duly
impressed; as well he should be (2 Kings 6:8-17).
Most of the time, however, we remain unobserved. But we are present in fearsome power
— hundreds, some times thousands of us. We’ve been there in countless operations with the
Commander sometimes in warfare against the enemy, sometimes as auxiliary personnel to
I understand many of you may have the notion that serving in an army is a matter of
grim, unquestioning duty. That may be the case in some human deployments, but it is
emphatically not the case with us in the angel corps. Every last one of us serves because
of love for the Commander. We would follow Him anywhere and do anything He requested.
Perhaps you can get some idea of our motivation for service by remembering how the
soldiers under David loved him. My squad was in the area one time when David and his
command were surrounded by a band of Philistines. At that time David was in his stronghold
and he casually remarked how good a drink of water from the well in Bethlehem would taste.
Three of David’s men broke through the enemy lines without being discovered and I might
add that one of our personnel had something to do with that. They drew water from the well
near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David, just because they loved him. (1
That’s how it is in this army. We love the Commander. Not one of us would hesitate in
the slightest to perform any assignment that He might choose to give us. You can hear our
love for Him in the songs we sing when we are on the march. How does your proverb go?
There are four things that move with stately bearing: a lion, mighty among beasts who
retreats before nothing, a strutting rooster, a he-goat, and a king with his army around
him (Proverbs 30:29-31). You should see our King with His army around Him!
Actually, some of you did see something like that once. I mentioned earlier that our
Commander has taken a very personal interest in the rescue operation on Earth. According
to His own plan He left heaven and was born into your human race. It was His mission to
effect a decisive blow to the key power center of the enemy, effectively opening the gates
from the inside to secure the escape of the rescuees. We had been with Him in smaller
companies since He joined Himself to His human mother’s flesh. We kept her under close
guard during her season of pregnancy. But on the night He selected for His human birth, we
were all there in full array. There was some possibility that the enemy would attempt to
oppose His birth action, so we were prepared to secure the area. Of course, as it
happened, the enemy was not encountered in the area that night. Only some time later did
he mount a counterstrike through that King Herod. So on the night of our Commander’s birth
we had nothing to do but stand watch, until we were ordered to reveal ourselves to a few
shepherds. And after making the announcement about our Commanders birth, we sang.
Have you ever heard a really big men’s choir? Start with that idea, but imagine them
not in choir robes, but girded for battle. Not grim draftees, but soldiers terrible in
joy. Not so few you could count them if you tried, but thousands and thousands. Not bare,
four-part harmony, but every voice with a slightly different song and all the voices
fitting together like a million pieces of a stained-glass window into the glory of heaven.
Not singing with weak human lungs, but sounding eternal chords like the ones that we used
at the creation of the world. Not a song with a few words and a chorus, but a song that
could not be contained even if you knew all the greatest words from all the languages of
your earth. And this song, if you tried to sing it, would say, “Glory to God in the
highest, and on earth peace to men on whom the Commander’s grace rests.” That is the
kind of song the shepherds heard!
That night was singing — a song full of terrible love for the Commander, a song full
of God’s love for the earth. And if you have love for this God who joined your human race,
maybe one day you will sing with our army. As we stand before the throne of our Commander
there will be a million upon a million voices of praise, voices singing of endless love,
voices singing glory to God in the highest!